Week 12 Inquiry
Answer the two inquiries below. (the inquiries can also be found on pages 140-141)
8. In the 1950s and 1960s, Navajo Indians and others worked in the uranium mines in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Public Health Service (PHS) allegedly knew that such work was hazardous. In the 1920s European studies had linked radioactivity to cancer and determined that ventilation of shafts could reduce the hazard. U.S. research in the late 1940s revealed that cancer was also caused by inhaling radon gas. Yet neither agency pressured the mine owners to install safety devices, and neither warned the workers. Moreover, the PHS monitored the health of a test group of miners; in the words of Stewart Udall, “The PHS used the miners as guinea pigs to study the effects of radiation.” Today those workers develop lung cancer at a rate five times higher than that of other people. Do the AEC and the PHS have any moral responsibility for these consequences?
15. The evidence that smoking is harmful to one’s health continues to grow. Now smoking is linked not only to lung cancer, emphysema, and certain heart and artery conditions, but also to cancers of the bladder and pancreas. In addition, smoking by pregnant women has been linked to such fetal defects as low birth weight and poor general health. With these facts in mind, decide whether the following people commit any moral wrong and, if so, identify the circumstances in which each would be morally responsible.
The heavy cigarette smoker
The pregnant woman who smokes
The smoker who encourages a nonsmoker to start smoking
The farmer who grows tobacco
The cigarette distributor
The advertising person who creates ads to entice people to buy cigarettes
The well-known personality who lends her name to cigarette advertising